DELVA approached the assignment of building a new casino building on the coast of Middelkerke and simultaneously reinforcing the existing sea dike from the perspective of the original landscape. With our design, we are adding a new and innovative dune landscape to the existing coast, with at its heart a striking building that will stand as a new beacon on the sea. We do not add a stand-alone casino building, but create a landscape that rewrites the historic relationship of the seaside town with the sea.
Duincasino Middelkerke offers space for a casino, an events hall, a hotel and a restaurant. By integrating the larger part of the programme semi-underground, we reinforce the sloping dune information and strengthen the current dike against the current sea level. Instead of applying the usual typology for a casino building with an anonymous appearance, we turn the building into a publicly accessible icon on the Belgian coast.
The integral design is a new chapter in the history of Middelkerke, which once originated as a fishing village after dunes were formed on the historic Testerep peninsula. The dunes offered protection against flooding and the channel between the island and the mainland was directly connected to the North Sea. After a century of large-scale developments and infrastructure projects, the original landscape has largely disappeared under stone and asphalt.
Our design will restore the dune landscape to its former glory. The three-hectare dune landscape gives visitors the opportunity to wander among the marram grass, dune reeds and sand oats. The channel will return as a dynamic water element that rises at the Epernayplein and leads visitors along a wide stream towards the sea. The sea dike will thicken at the casino building, with a sloping, dune-like slope serving as a robust coastal protection.